From the very outset, the founders of STEPS Rehabilitation wanted to create a vibrant, energetic facility that empowered young people, facing the most terrible of situations, to reach their full potential. Thorough research over a 6-year period meant founders Jules and Toria were acutely aware that younger people in need of residential rehabilitation weren’t being properly catered for. Seriously injured and ill young people invariably either stay in hospital longer than necessary, go home to an environment that’s not suitable for their needs, or are thrust into a nursing home geared towards the elderly.

It’s not just the unsuitability of these living environments for young people, these places also lack the ability to deliver the intensive rehabilitation that’s required, making it almost impossible for young people to reach their full potential.

Effective rehabilitation for young people promotes independent living

For young people, with their whole lives ahead of them, the impact is devastating. But it’s not just the personal impact that’s significant, it’s also the societal impact, because long-term care comes with a hefty price tag.

With effective and early rehabilitation, it is possible to reduce these long-term care costs significantly. Helping young people to manage their condition increases their independence, making them less reliant on others for all their care needs.

A positive environment for young people is key to progress

For any client the environment plays a huge part in their recovery (both their physical and mental wellbeing), and however nice an elderly nursing home might be, it isn’t appropriate for young people with significant rehabilitation needs.

Since it opened in 2017, STEPS has helped many young clients from aged 16 upwards who have a range of conditions, such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputations. The building has been designed with many communal spaces, including a games room, music room and the very popular hub café.

For anyone visiting, it’s instantly apparent that STEPS has a very special environment. Just as a client might be found having their physio session, equally they can be found in reception chatting and helping with admin tasks or making smoothies with one of the chefs.

It’s this environment that lends itself to young clients being able to make incredible progress. It’s the opposite of a nursing home; STEPS clients are busy, up early, showered and dressed, ready to get to the pool and gym to work on their rehabilitation.

As one client puts it, “The environment at STEPS is just as key as the therapy. There is such a good vibe here it has made me an optimist now and before I came here, I would say I was a very pessimistic person.”

The energy and vibrant atmosphere is enhanced enormously by the younger STEPS staff. The physiotherapists that are climbers take clients to local climbing walls for therapy sessions. There is impromptu dancing in the café; the young residents and staff will get takeaways together; and there was even an occasion when a rehabilitation assistant brought her pet hamster into work! For her 17th birthday, one client arranged a takeaway, film and sleepover with a friend. There is always laughter and fun, which benefits every client, their families and staff.

There is a powerful psychological benefit to clients for being in a positive environment. Clients encourage each other with their goals; sharing in one another’s rehabilitation journey. Ben, a 34 year amputee said, “I was in a really dark place before coming to STEPS, I genuinely feel it has given me my life back. I love to see everyone else making progress alongside me.”